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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That suunto clinometer (registered TM) is a small, handheld pendulum clinometer commonly used in cave survey [25].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms


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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for attack (Keyword) returned 12 results for the whole karstbase:
Bermuda--A partially drowned, late mature, Pleistocene karst, 1960,
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Bretz Jh,
During Pleistocene time, the Bermuda Islands repeatedly underwent partial inundation and re-emergence. The land areas were continuously attacked and reduced by rain and ground water but repeatedly renewed, during times of submergence, by deposition of marine limestone and by contemporaneous additions of shore-born and wind-transported carbonate sand, now eolianite. Soils formed under subaerial conditions are now buried beneath later deposits and constitute important stratigraphic markers. The igneous foundation rock appears to have been exposed during some low marine stands, and the former shorelines seem to be recorded by submerged terraces. The major karst features are largely below sea level, and they must date from times of continental glaciations. Previous writers have assigned eolian accumulation to times of Pleistocene low sea level and soil-making to times of interglacial high sea. Both conclusions are held to be erroneous

Remarks on the significance of experiences in karst geodynamics., 1964,
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Renault Philippe
Distinction is made between the experiment which "demonstrates" having an argumentative value; and the experiment which "questions" nature by isolating one factor and by determining the mode of its action. The concept of experiment in geology and in geodynamics and the distinctions between geodynamics and geophysics are discussed. Karstic geodynamics considers the action of fluids; mainly liquids; on a soluble rock. It is a science bordering the different branches of geochemistry, hydrology, the mechanics of rocks, and geophysics. Researches in karstic geodynamics are based upon measurements obtained through field surveys, or upon the utilization of a subterranean laboratory. However, in the laboratory this hardly surpasses the stage of experimental demonstration. A series of simple experiments are enumerated to exemplify the above statement, like the one where the attack of a diluted acid on a soluble rock is utilized, in order to enable us to classify the major problems encountered in karstic corrosion. The last chapter discusses the bicarbonate equilibriums of Ca-CO2. Experiment furnishes the empiric criterion on which scientific theory is founded. Each discipline has its own methodology dependent on the object under study having experimental criteria of different nature. This is particularly true in case of such distant phenomena which no longer have a common ground with human dimensions like space for astronomy or time for geology. In such cases the possibilities of "instrumental" experimentations are very limited. After a brief recollection of the principles of experimental procedure and the history of the experiments attempted by geodynamicians (tectonics, geomorphology, etc.) we will analyze several methods of investigation and by relying exactly on the example of karstic corrosion we shall determine those which have a value for the science of karstology.

Lascaux 1988, une grotte orne, un fac simile et... 400 000 visiteurs par an, 1989,
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Vouve J. , Brunet J. , Vidal P.
Lascaux 1988, a hill, an ornated cave, a fac-simile and... 400,000 tourists every year - We have wished to give in this note some results of researches realised between 1963 and 1988 (geological study, indirect discovery of cave development, hydrogeological and climatological subterranean environments). These works were undertaken in order to save the paintings, which are suffering from the attacks of bacteria and chemical deposits. The recent human aggression is dependent since 1983 on the use of the ground of the hill after the opening of the fac-simile. This human aggression has shown us new dangers and has obliged us to study a different workmanship to protect the surficial and underground environments around the cave.

Solutional landforms in quartz sandstones of the Sydney Basin, PhD thesis, 1995,
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Wray, R. A. L

Solutional landforms have been described for over a hundred years from limestone terrains and are termed karst. In many tropical regions landforms of similar morphology but on highly siliceous sandstones and quartzites have also recently been identified. The similarity of many of these features in morphology and also in genetic solutional processes to those on limestone has prompted recent calls for these quartzose landforms to also be regarded as true karst.
Although not unknown in temperate latitudes, these highly siliceous solutional landforms have been most commonly studied in present-day tropical regions, or areas believed to have been tropical in the recent past. This concentration of research in hot-wet areas, allied with the long held assertion of the insolubility of silica, especially quartz, led to a belief that tropical climatic conditions are necessary for karstic solution of these rocks. However, some of these quartzose solutional landforms are known in areas of temperate climate where there is little evidence for prior tropical conditions. A comprehensive worldwide review of these landforms, and the processes involved in their formation, has not previously been conducted and forms the basis from which this study stems.
The Sydney Basin in southeastern Australia has had a stable temperate climate for much of the Cainozoic with no evidence of tropical climate. The highly quartzose Permo-Triassic sandstones of this area have little carbonate, but nevertheless display a wide range of landforms morphologically similar to those both on limestones and also tropical quartzites These include large bedrock towers, grikes, caves, smaller solution basins and runnels, and even widespread silica speleothems. This study describes the morphology of this suite of landforms in detail, and provides a comparative analysis of these sandstone forms to those reported from quartzites of tropical areas and also their limestone analogues. Various microscopic and natural water chemistry analysis are then utilised in examining the poorly understood natural processes responsible for their formation. The process of sandstone solutional weathering in the Sydney Basin is also compared with that reported from the tropics, finding very little difference in either the form or magnitude of attack between these two climatically distinct regions. No previous studies have examined the wide range of solutional features found on quartz sandstones in one region of a climate comparable to Sydney, nor the processes involved in the genesis of these forms.


Vertical zonation of the speleogenetic space, 1999,
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Š, Uš, Terš, Ič, France

The point of this paper is to demonstrate that not only the spatial domain where underground karst phenomena are being systematically transformed exist but also that this knowledge makes the role of caves within the geospeleological space/time more consistent. A true cave is any underground karst feature resulting from mass removal, regardless of its dimensions provided that the trajectory of the formative water passes through the cave and that the mass is removed in liquid phase (solution). Speleogenetic space is defined as that portion of the Earth's crust within which karst caverns may be formed. Thus, a karstified rock mass is defined as activated speleogenetic space. Due to the effects of denudation and watertable lowering, as the time passes a single cave seems to move upwards through speleogentic space, until it reaches the surface. The denudational logic of the karst surface is vertical, and the rock suffers disintegration throughout the thickness of its outermost layers. The same argument applies also to in-rock features. Consequently, the idea of the speleothanatic zone is introduced. Within it all of the rock is attacked, on any possible surface, and the final result is its complete annihilation. It may be expected that all structures, of any origin, that expose the rock surface to contact with aggressive water, will evolve via some "speleothanatic" progression. It is demonstrated that three vertical zones of specific formative/de-formative processes exist within speleogenetic space.


The processes dominating Ca dissolution of limestone when exposed to ambient atmospheric conditions as determined by comparing dissolution models, 2002,
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Cardellfernandez C, Vleugels G, Torfs K, Van Grieken R,
In order to gain a clearer understanding of the decay mechanisms operating in limestones, and to determine the main damage factors at different exposure environments, calcite-dissolution models from the literature were compared. The models recognise three major stone decay mechanisms: attack by air pollutants (dry deposition), dissolution in clean rain (karst effect) and dissolution caused by neutralisation of rain acidity (acidity effect), These models were fitted to experimental data obtained from the run-off water analysis running over the so-called Massangis limestone, exposed under ambient conditions in five sites in Belgium. The models demonstrate that different processes dominate the limestone dissolution at the different sites, with dry deposition of air pollutants (especially SO2) being the principal process involved

Quartzite dissolution: karst or pseudokarst?, 2003,
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Wray, R. A. L.

A wide range of landforms of great similarity to limestone karst is found on many of the world's quartz sandstones and quartzites. These landforms have often been dismissed as pseudokarst, but recent investigation shows that the dissolutional removal of silica, even quartz, under earth-surface conditions is a critical process in their formation. They must therefore be regarded as true karst features. Recognition of these genetically similar forms on quartzose rocks now demands the worldwide adoption of a less restrictive, process-based, karst definition. Direct evidence for this near-surface dissolutional weathering is not common. Examples of this process are reviewed here, along with further evidence for the dissolution of silica from within the quartz sandstones of the Sydney Basin in temperate south-eastern Australia. Some of the complex processes by which dissolution attacks the rock remain unclear. However the solubility, thermodynamics, fluid throughput and physical removal of detritus are all critical factors in the formation of what can only be termed karst on quartzites and quartz sandstone.


Environmentally acceptable effect of hydrogen peroxide on cave “lamp-flora”, calcite speleothems and limestones, 2003,
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Faimon J, Stelcl J, Kubesova S, Zimak J,
Mosses, algae, and cyanobacteria (lamp-flora) colonize illuminated areas in show caves. This biota is commonly removed by a sodium hypochlorite solution. Because chlorine and other deleterious compounds are released into a cave environment during lamp-flora cleansing, hydrogen peroxide was tested as an alternative agent. In a multidisciplinary study conducted in the Katerinska Cave (Moravian Karst, Czech Republic), 12 algae- and cyanobacteria taxons and 19 moss taxons were detected. The threshold hydrogen peroxide concentration for the destruction of this lamp-flora was found to be 15 vol.%. Based on laboratory experiments in stirred batch reactors, the dissolution rates of limestones and calcite speleothems in water were determined as 3.77 x 10-3 and 1.81 x 10-3 mol m-2 h-1, respectively. In the 15% peroxide solution, the limestone and speleothem dissolution rates were one order of magnitude higher, 2.00 x 10-2 and 2.21 x 10-2 mol m-2 h-1, respectively. So, the peroxide solution was recognised to attack carbonates somewhat more aggressively than karst water. In order to prevent the potential corrosion of limestone and speleothems, the reaching of preliminary peroxide saturation with respect to calcite is recommended, for example, by adding of few limestone fragments into the solution at least 10 h prior to its application

The story of the 1833 Fercher survey, Postojnska jama, continues: an additional document and newly discovered inscriptions., 2006,
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Kempe S. , Hubrich H. P. , Suckstorff K.
Publications, archived documents and inscriptions help with the reconstruction of the history of Postojnska jama. Until recently, the circumstances of the first mayor cave survey ever undertaken were not well known. It is the so called Fercher Survey conducted in winter 1833; a cooperation between the Mine Office in Idrija and the Cave Administration that surveyed the entire cave known at the time. Documents from the Archive of the Karst Research Institute and an inscription in the Tartarus of Postojnska jama gave a first insight into this story (Kempe, 2005). The survey suggested that (in what is now Male jama) a connection could be blasted to shorten the visitor route. Now a further letter dated 5th September, was found shedding light on this mining attempt begun in summer 1833. In the letter the Cave Administration massively attacks the Mine Office. They claim that either the survey was not accurate or that the breakthrough was attempted at a wrong site. In consequence they demanded their expenses back, threatening with an investigation by the precinct administration. We also found three more inscriptions of the Fercher Party, in Pisani rov and in the Old Cave, one by and two by the miner Tracha.

tude des transferts de masse et de chaleur dans la grotte de Lascaux: le suivi climatique et le simulateur., 2007,
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Lacanette D. , Malaurent Ph. , Caltagirone J. P. , Brunet J.
Study of heat and mass flows in Lascaux cave: the climatic monitoring and the simulation tool. The cave of Lascaux, discovered in 1940 and located in the Dordogne area in France, is inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List. It is considered as one of the major prehistoric caves in the world. Since its discovery, several problems have occurred, due to the huge amount of visitors, and their release of vapour and carbon dioxide by their breath, causing the formation of calcite and the apparition of green algae and mosses. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs had the cave closed in 1963. Since then, prehistorians, archaeologists, geologists, hydrogeologists, have tried hard to maintain the cavity in the most stable state as possible, using remote metering to record the variations in temperature, hygrometry, and carbon dioxide gas pressure. The biological equilibrium remained fragile and, in 2001, colonies of micro-organisms, mushrooms and bacteria developed on the rock edges and on the floor. This attack made the authorities and the Minister of Culture and Communication create the scientific international comity of the Lascaux cave, a multidisciplinary comity (composed of archaeologists, physicists, geologists, hydrogeologists, conservators working altogether) to understand the mechanisms of apparition of the micro-organisms in order to stop their propagation. Among the measures taken by the comity, a better understanding of the flows in the cave has appeared very important, and has induced the creation of a simulation tool, the "Lascaux Simulator". The non intrusive character of simulation is one of the major assets of this method. Thus, the numerical simulation in fluid mechanics is here dedicated to the conservation of the cave of Lascaux. The simulator is based on a computational fluid dynamics code named Aquilon. A three dimensional survey has been leaded in the cave using laser scanning and an accurate topology of the environment is incorporated in the simulator. Starting from this point, governing equations of the fluid mechanics are solved and parameters such as temperature, velocity or moisture content are known in every point of the cavity. Thermal conditions are chosen, basing on the analysis of the calculated and measured temperature data for more than 50 years. In this article, two configurations are chosen, the first one in September 1981, period during which the cave remained in a stable state regarding condensation, and the other one in December 1999; at this time, temperature were reversed, the ground of the cavity was colder than the vaults. This phenomenon implied an inversion of the air flow in the cave. Finally, the removal of the dividing wall of the Bauer airlock has been simulated, and it has been showed that the impact on the cavity would be negligible.

Coastal Caves, 2012,
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Mylroie, John E.

Coastal caves are, by definition, caves that form along the coast as a result of the interaction of terrestrial and marine processes. Sea level can fluctuate, both globally as well as locally, and therefore the site of coastal cave development changes through time. Coastal caves form for two main reasons. First, wave and salt attack on any rocky coast can excavate simple hollows and chambers, called sea caves or littoral caves, in a variety of rock materials. Second, on limestone coasts, the dissolution of the rock by the mixing of freshwater and seawater can create complex cave systems called flank margin caves. Blue holes also form in limestone coastal regions from a variety of processes. Safe cave exploration in any environment requires training and preparation; while flank margin caves are relatively safe, the exploration of sea caves and blue holes can be extremely dangerous, even for those with years of experience.


Salt Karst, 2013,
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Frumkin, A.

Halite is the most soluble common mineral. Salt karst is concerned with extremely soluble and erodible rock-salt geomorphology, which demonstrates a dynamic end member to karst processes. Salt outcrops are rare, due to the high solubility, and common total dissolution underground, but subsurface salt is common, and commonly associated with environmental problems. These are associated with salt hazards, generally due to anthropogenic modification of hydrological systems, causing aggressive water to attack salt rock. Most salt outcrops appear under desert conditions, where the salt mass escapes total dissolution. In such outcrops, runoff produces well-developed karst terrains, with features including karren, sinkholes, and vadose caves. Existing salt relief is probably not older than Pliocene, but the known well-developed


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